Netflix Wins Big as California Doles Out Record $139 Million in Film Credits

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Netflix was the big winner as the California Film Commission awarded a record-setting $138.8 million in film tax credits on Monday.

The streaming service got $43.3 million for three projects, including $18.5 million for the Zack Snyder sci-fi epic “Rebel Moon.” Its other winning projects are “Beverly Hills Cop 4,” which was awarded $15.8 million, and an untitled feature with Jonah Hill, which got $9 million.

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The $138.8 million total shattered the previous record for single round of film subsidies, which was $109 million awarded in August 2016. The commission increased the amount this round due to a sizable rollover of unused credits from previous rounds. Many projects were either canceled or relocated due to the pandemic.

For film credits, the commission typically awards anywhere from $40 million to $80 million per round, with two or three rounds per fiscal year. This round actually exceeds the state’s annual allocation to film projects, which is $132 million — or 40% of the total program, with the other 60% going to TV shows. The application period for the next film round — which will be the second for this fiscal year — will come in January 2022.

Aside from Netflix, NBCUniversal and Sony also cleaned up this time around, getting $31.1 million and $28.1 million in credits, respectively.

Hill and Kenya Barris are two of the winners among talent this round. They are teaming on the untitled feature from Netflix. Hill also stars in “Dixon,” a Sony film that will get $14.6 million in credits, while Barris is producing a reboot of “White Men Can’t Jump,” from Disney, which will nab $6.5 million in credits.

“Being from California, it’s important for me to support my home state whenever I get the chance,” Hill said in a statement supplied by the film commission. “We are so thankful for The California Tax credit because it will allow me to utilize the amazing crew members and locations offered here at home for my next two projects.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a two-year, $180 million expansion of the TV side of the credit in July, which will bump the program up to $420 million a year. That expansion does not apply to this round of credits.

Industry figures had warned state lawmakers that the TV credit was becoming a victim of its own success, and had lured so many shows from other states that it could not afford to subsidize all of them in later seasons. The industry groups argued there was a $150 million “shortfall” in the program, which helped make the case for the temporary expansion of the TV credit.

Newsom also signed into law a new $150 million credit to incentivize the construction of soundstages, which will apply to either film or TV projects.

Before the program expanded in 2015, the film commission would give out $100 million to film and TV projects in an annual lottery. Under the current system, projects are ranked based on their job creation metrics. The 23 projects awarded this round account for $678 million in “qualified” spending on below-the-line jobs and payments to in-state vendors.

Here is the full list of projects that were awarded credits this round.

Studio Films

“Beverly Hills Cop 4,” Netflix Productions, $15,759,000
“Dixon,” Sony, $14,582,000
“End of Liz as We Know It,” Sony, $13,501,000
“Escape,” Imagine Entertainment, $8,691,000
“Rebel Moon,” Netflix Productions, $18,488,000
“Scarface,” Universal City Studios LLC, $9,882,000
“Untitled Jean-Marc Vallée Project,” Universal City Studios LLC, $17,341,000
“Untitled Jonah Hill Project,” Netflix Productions, LLC, $9,021,000
“Untitled Karyn Kusama Project,” Universal City Studios LLC, $3,899,000
“White Men Can’t Jump,” Disney, $6,562,000

Independent Films

“Anemone,” AFI Media Holdings Inc. $498,000
“Dead Wrong,” Deadly Instinct, $262,000
“F—— Identical Twins,” Sewer Boys LLC, $2,164,000
“Magazine Dreams,” LAMF Development LLC, $1,771,000
“Moving On,” Moving On Productions, $1,755,000
“Perfect,” Sunny Spot Productions LLC, $2,480,000
“Poolman,” Barry Linen Productions, Inc., $2,500,000
“Rose,” Rose Distribution, LLC, $2,500,000
“Seedless,” Seedless Movie Company, LLC, $642,000
“Soulmates, Imani Media Group, $432,000
“Untitled Aziz Ansari Project,” Peppermint Road, $2,500,000
“Untitled Kobi Libii Project,” Magic Society LLC, $2,500,000
“Verona Spies,” ARCI, $1,038,000

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